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Amazon-Backed AI Startup H Raises $220 Million for ‘Full AGI’

AGI, artificial general intelligence

French startup “H” has raised $220 million for its goal of building artificial general intelligence.

The company — led by a group of Google DeepMind veterans — had been known as Holistic AI before their rebrand Tuesday (May 21), Bloomberg News reported. (Holistic is also the name of a separate AI company based in the U.K.)

Charles Kantor, the startup’s CEO, told Bloomberg the company is working towards “full-AGI,” a reference to artificial general intelligence, a level of artificial intelligence (AI) that matches or exceeds human capabilities. Amazon and Samsung participated in the funding round.

While AI has made major strides in specific areas — image recognition, language processing and strategic decision-making — it’s still not certain whether these achievements can be easily integrated into a comprehensive, human-like intelligence.

“Critics argue that many of the claims surrounding AGI are overblown and that the field has yet to produce concrete evidence of machines that can truly think and reason like humans,” PYMNTS wrote last month. “Moreover, the development of AGI raises significant ethical and societal concerns. As machines become capable of performing tasks previously reserved for humans, the potential impact on employment could be substantial.”

There are also questions about how AGI systems can be controlled if they  surpass human intelligence and become hard to manage.

“To address these concerns, researchers and policymakers have emphasized the importance of responsible AI development,” PYMNTS wrote. “This includes ensuring transparency, accountability and fairness in AI systems, as well as establishing clear guidelines for the ethical development and deployment of AGI technologies.”

H’s funding news came the same day that AI firm Scale announced it had raised $1 billion in a funding round that valued it at $13.8 billion.

The company said the Series F financing will help it build what founder Alexandr Wang called the “data foundry” that brings about an age of AI-ready “data abundance.”

“Abundance is not the default; it’s a choice,” Wang wrote in the post. “It requires bringing together the best minds in engineering, operations and AI. Our calling is to build the data foundry for AI, and with today’s funding, we’re moving into the next phase of that journey — accelerating the abundance of frontier data that will pave our road to AGI.”

The Bloomberg report noted that France has become a “hotbed” of AI activity. The country is home to Mistral AI, which has raised more than $500 million since early last year. In addition, Microsoft and Amazon both recently announced multi-billion tech investments in France centered around AI projects.